Bateman’s status for Armed Forces Bowl unclear

Army coach Jeff Monken said he is not sure whether departing defensive coordinator Jay Bateman will coach the Black Knights in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 22 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.

Bateman, who was announced as North Carolina’s co-defensive coordinator Sunday, is out on the road recruiting for the Tar Heels and head coach Mack Brown.

“We’ll have to see how this plays out,” Monken said Tuesday night. “Right now, I don’t anticipate him being a part of it. We certainly would welcome him coming back and being a part of the last game for this season.”

Monken said he’s decided on an interim defensive coordinator if Bateman, one of five finalists for the Broyles Award as the assistant coach of the year, does not coach in the bowl game.

“But, I’m not going to say until I know Jay is not coming back,” Monken said, whose team will return to practice Saturday.

Bateman’s Army defense held Navy to its lowest point total in an Army-Navy game since 1987 with a 17-10 victory Saturday. Army forced four turnovers in the win.

Bateman played an integral role in Army’s rise over the last three winning seasons. Army allowed 14 points or less in 17 of its 28 wins over the three-period stretch. The Black Knights have won five straight service-academy games over Navy and Air Force, allowing an average of 10.8 points per game.

“He (Bateman) made such a difference in our success, the culture of our program, the attitude and the culture of the defense with the way they played and the intensity and the belief,” Monken said. “He’s a great problem solver on game day. He’s really imaginative. He has just really done a great job.

“I think the two coordinators Brent (Davis, offense) and Jay really complimented each other well. I think Jay got better at defending the option because of the different things that Brent was doing. I think the offense got better because of all of the wrinkles that Jay put in to defend it. It really was a great balance there with those two guys. They are both very competitive and they work really hard at their jobs.”

Monken said Army’s next defensive coordinator could come from someone on staff or the outside. He said he like to hire a coach that has the same aggressive philosophy and personality as Bateman.

“We have played so effectively on defense that I think it’s important for us not to have a wholesale change and take on a completely different philosophy on defense,” Monken said. “It’s got to be something that’s similar and somebody that can problem solve and fix the issues when they come up because inevitably they are going to and really inspire and motivate our players to play really, really hard and execute on Saturdays.

“To be really, really good, you got to have this everywhere, but at the academies, you got to be very fundamentally sound. I think we have good teachers on our staff. It’s important that the defensive coordinator to me is somebody that can give input at every position whether it be a drill or a technique and be able to teach and also be able to handle the scheme part of it when you put it all together is going to stop people from moving the football.”


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